Planet Iron Blogger SF

October 07, 2022

Doctor Popular

The SquirrelWarz soundtrack is here!

I’ve just released a new album on Bandcamp, just in time for #BandcampFriday. It’s the soundtrack to SquirrelWarz and you should give it a listen while reading this post:

SquirrelWarz (original soundtrack) by Doctor Popular

SquirrelWarz is an iOS game I worked on for Tribal Games and was released in 2017. I was the lead game designer and audio artist, but I helped with some of the art too.

The soundtrack is a fun mix of toy instruments, like melodicas and mouth harps, with some Casio drums and chiptune basslines. Basically a mix of bedroom acoustic instruments with lofi electronics.

The songs are energetic and fun. I’m really proud of them and I’m glad they are finally available in a finished album. It took me long enough, huh.

Huge shoutout to Mike Hales who collaborated with me on the album art and did a great job on the SquirrelWarz art. I love that stuff.

Enjoy the album and have a happy Bandcamp Friday!

The post The SquirrelWarz soundtrack is here! appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at October 07, 2022 05:33 AM

Vivek Sri

Made up "rules" for a successful life

I wrote these “rules for a successful life” a million years ago, long before I actually knew anything, let alone how to live.

- Wake up before 7am every single day
- Exercise your body daily
- Be 15 minutes early for all appointments
- Create something daily, it doesn't matter what
- Take the stairs when you can
- Own fewer things than you need
- Don't spend more money than you earn
- Keep in contact with people you care about every week
- Take short, cold showers to develop your flinch
- Smiles supersede coolness
- Jump on opportunities to talk to strangers
- Don't overdo drugs and alcohol
- Avoid sugar and unhealthy foods
- Seek a second source before you believe anything
- Buy used whenever possible
- End each day with a good book
- Be ruthlessly honest with yourself and others
- Try to understand the other person's point of view

Years later, I have subconsciously integrated rules like “Wake up before 7am” and “Buy used…” The rule about cold showers came about because I had just read Flinch. Other rules I had completely forgotten. “Jump on opportunities to talk to strangers.” Who wrote that? “Smiles supersede coolness” doesn’t sound like something young me would have believed, and yet, there it is.

But the one that sticks out is “Create something daily, it doesn’t matter what.” It seems my mind has been beating this drum for a long time. It is time to take my own advice.

Down with rules
Up with success

by Made up "rules" for a successful life at October 07, 2022 01:41 AM

October 04, 2022

Vivek Sri

Word of the Day: Trivia

I grew up a compulsive swallower of general knowledge, facts, and trivia. I’d mainline the dictionary (Webster’s natch) to my kid sister’s bemusement. I’d won a single volume of the Golden Home and High School Encyclopedia in third grade1 and read it over and over.

Ask me about clouds.Ask me about clouds.

And one day, a beige-grey box (called a “486”) helped turn this obsessive snack habit into full on gavage.

The 486 came with the Banner Blue Movie Guide, a movie database. It was a font of movie trivia, well before IMDb. You could sift by actor, director, release year, movie genre, awards, and even the critics’ star rating.

And sift I did.And sift I did.

Trivia is the plural of trivium, Latin for “place where three roads meet” (tri plus via). It connotes something “public” or “commonplace.” In the 15th century, the term points to the first three “liberal arts”: grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

(Do you know what the other four are?)

quadrivium n. The four “liberal arts,” arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy.

As you might guess by my training, I’m reasonably good at trivia games. When I joined my high school trivia team (Reach For The Top), I was excused from every practice because I knew every answer. I led the team to the provincial finals where we lost only because Grace Cassidy audibly whispered a correct answer during competition play and I nobly surrendered the point to M.M. Robinson. (We lost by that point. This was my 9/11. I will never forget.)

I read stuff like this for funI read stuff like this for fun

As an adult, I’ve been a member of two pub trivia dynasties. If I guest on your trivia team, you will probably win. I am the Michael Jordan of knowing pointless shit.

Trivia is on my mind because my very good friend Richard has been a pub trivia host for years. In one of my life’s many ironies, I moved away from Toronto before this phase of Richard’s life began. Remarkably, I’ve only experienced Richard’s brand of trivia twice.

The first one was this year, on my fortieth birthday. Zoom trivia, filled with familiar faces, concluding with a surreal, pseudo-synchronized happy birthday that warmed my heart.

But like not even close to in-syncBut like not even close to in-sync


The second time was last week when Richard asked me a bunch of questions over the phone. My own private trivia! And if that wasn’t enough: Richard, it turns out, is a trivia auteur. The David Fincher of trivia. Exacting but not pretentious. Cerebral yet entertaining. As we navigated his questions, Richard also outlined Certaine Principles for Deſsigning Most Excellent Trivia, which I will share with you now.

1. Pure trivia isn’t interesting

Don’t ask a question that strictly relies on a memorized fact. ”In what city was Queen Victoria born?" is painful if you don’t know and boring even if you do. There’s no way to glean the answer.

Good questions are “talk-able.” They contain within them a means of sussing them out with your team. And opposing viewpoints make talk-able questions a double-edged sword! A good question is like a puzzle.

What say youWhat say you

Because most folks can name a Japanese company, adding this detail gives players a narrower field of options. “Leave luck to heaven” is another clue. More likely a game maker than a car manufacturer. I guessed Nintendo, which turned out to be the right.

The “pure trivia” version looks like, “What is the English translation of Nintendo?” It isn’t that interesting.

2. Write questions for everyone

Don’t only write questions for idea-hoarding psychos like myself. Richard is obsessively inclusive when he thinks of questions. When he found out a new player was an art history major, he added questions about antiquity, just for them. That’s bespoke as fuck. You don’t have to go that far, but variety makes a game accessible and fun.

Something for everyoneSomething for everyone

It’s not an accident that a question about European monarchies is followed by a sports question and an entertainment question. If a question is outside your wheelhouse, Richard makes sure that a different one is just around the corner.

3. Think outside the quiz

Asking people to baldly recall facts gets old, even for me. Thankfully, Richard is a five-hour Youtube spiral kind of guy. I think this is what leads to the Far Out Concepts in his games. Check this out:

Match the line to the topicMatch the line to the topic

Using Google N-gram Viewer, Richard tracked the popularity of three terms. Your job is to guess which line represents which topic. It’s a talk-able question that gives everyone a chance to answer. I’ve never seen a question like this in any other trivia game.

4. Think like a lawyer

Richard once spent an entire Uber ride explaining peppercorns to me. Because Richard is a lawyer. And this lawyerness shows up in trivia questions that are unambiguous and designed to prevent objections or confusion.

Be A LawyerBe A Lawyer

Richard intentionally adds the qualifiers “English-language” and “based on word count.” A question like “What’s the longest book ever written?” would be easy to challenge, because it can be interpreted in different ways. Eliminate all confusion.

5. Give them a sporting chance

Help a player out, chief. Make questions multiple-choice, or have players sort items, or list items, or allow for answers that fall into a range. Richard is good about including lots of these in his games.

Put them in orderPut them in order

Fall within a rangeFall within a range

List what you canList what you can

Even if you don’t have the faintest idea, you might luck your way into a few points.

My trivial pursuit

The point of this post is to goad Richard into writing a coffee table book filled with the rest of his thoughts on pub trivia. I’m certain he has much more to say on the topic. (If you do that Richard, I’ll happily accept something between nothing and 15% of the proceeds.)

But even if he doesn’t write a book, I’ll still be more-than-happy experiencing the occasional one-player trivia hotline with my own personal host.

  1. I earned the points to “buy” CIV-DEF in Mr. Hall’s weekly trivia contest.↩︎

by Word of the Day: Trivia at October 04, 2022 05:15 PM

October 03, 2022

Claire Kao

kwee’s week in photos

Large milkweed bugs, harmless & vibrant

文文, get there at 5pm for one of the five BDSM chickens they make a day ! 

the sky is so trendy 
The goblin-dog bestows a rare gift of the sits 
wet chewie // impatient peter 
blue bath bliss 

he’s my best friend, he’s my pal. He’s my homeboy, My rotten soldier. He’s my sweet cheese, My good time boy
Reid, the SpongeBob time card, will one day write a song about my low traffic blog 

by Claire ( at October 03, 2022 04:36 AM

Certainly Strange

Still working on the animation

I am STILL working on that dang animation I tell you what animation is a lot of work

by Steen at October 03, 2022 04:17 AM

Doctor Popular

October Goals

Autumn is here and it feels like the year is almost over. I have a lot of exciting projects in the works and I thought I’d try documenting them here. This isn’t intended to be a full list for the rest of the year, just my list of goals for the month of October.


I made an iOS game called SquirrelWarz for Tribal Games back in 2017. It was a great experience workin g with some of my most talented friends to make a game I was really proud of. It didn’t make us rich, but I was still very fortunate to be a part of it. I was the lead game developer and audio guy on the team, but I also helped with some of the art and other aspects of the game.

The SquirrelWarz soundtrack is some of my favorite music I’ve ever worked on. I wanted it to feel like it was made by a group of small little mammals, so I tried to use cute sounding instruments like melodicas, mouth harps, and toy drums. I created 8 full tracks for the game, but never got around to releasing them until now.

After a long wait, the SquirrelWarz soundtrack will be available this Friday on at a great price. It also happens to be #BandcampFriday, so it’s a great time to pick up a new album you’ll love.

Card Games

My first big game, Knifetank: The Shüffling, was released in 2020, and sold out quickly. I’ve been meaning to print another run ever since then, but just couldn’t make the time. I still get plenty of emails about the game so I’ve decided to do another crowdfunding campaign later this month to fund it.

I won’t be using Kickstarter this time around though, so I’m trying to decide between GameFound and Backerkit.

I’ve also been asked to demo the game at Big Bad Con later this month. I’ll be showing Knifetank in the Small Press Expo room on Saturday October 29th.


I have a bunch of prototypes and new yo-yos on order, but due to supply chain issues, I don’t have much of an idea of when they’ll arrive. I do have a few things that are more under my control though, such as running yo-yo meetups.

I run an online yo-yo club each month for my Patreon backers that is called the YoIP! (yo-yo over internet protocol). That happens on the second Saturday of each month.

I’m also hoping to run a yo-yo meetup in San Francisco the following Saturday in Golden Gate Park. If I do end up confirming that, I’ll probably share it on The Yo-Yo List, a new website for organizing yo-yo meetups. So keep your eye out there.

Comics and Art

Speaking of local meetups, I’m hoping to bring the San Francisco Cartoonist Conspiracy back to life with monthly meetups in the Mission. I have an old email list for the SFCC here, which might be a good way to keep track of those events.

The SF Cartoonist Conspiracy is a club I ran for many years. We’d meet in a coffee shop and work on jam comics or exquisite corpse style drawing games.


I’ve been really busy working on a bunch of WordPress related projects lately. Last month I went to WordCamp US and posted a ton of videos for about the event.

I’ve been running the Torque Social Hour for a few years, that is a weekly livestream about WordPress news and events. I’ve also started running the Press This podcast for WP Engine. Good times!

As part of my journey I’m trying to get better at building WordPress websites, so I’m currently working on This site is live now, but my hope is to have it finished by the end of October. Part of this site will involve creating a webfont that includes the andorsand glyph, so I can have that appear on the page like any other punctuation mark.

The post October Goals appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at October 03, 2022 02:56 AM

October 02, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

Bespoke Dial v2

Working on a new prototype in old timey automation. Time to breathe new life into these rotary phones.

It’s interesting to me the subtle differences in wiring over the years, especially in build quality between Bell (pre-breakup) and AT&T.

Excited to be able to get back into hardware hacking.

October 02, 2022 05:45 PM

September 26, 2022

Certainly Strange

The animation is eternally ongoing

I am still working on this horrible idea it will never end

by Steen at September 26, 2022 08:25 AM

Claire Kao

kwee’s week in photos

A boy and his dog 

Z meets a snake ! 
Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp
Long zucchini boi 

Thank you to Reid for meeting us at grand central and picking ziggy up from us so we could go straight to radio city to see the one and only lil nas x 😭😭😭😭😭 we stan a man that facilitates our stanning 
From Genesis ❤️‍🔥

✋🏻 Put a finger down if you’ve ever been very unreasonable with your cravings so you really want Shabu-Shabu but the place is very popular and it’s a 2 hour and 15 minute wait but there’s a bookstore nearby so you each buy a copy of the same novella so you can read it at the same time while you’re waiting for your table and this hellish book is so good you almost miss the 6-6-6 that appears in the fact that Chapter 6 starts on page 66 but when you pause to take in this devilish coincidence you realize you also happen to be reading this exact passage on the third week of September right when it has just suddenly turned cold on this very day. Pregaming October 🎃
A bit of COVID arm from the bivalent booster. A common, and not serious allergic reaction: itchy, red, swollen. To NYers, I recommend calling 877-VAX-4NYC and getting an appointment at the Department of Health. You can choose which shot you get, and you can have more faith that record of the vax will be stored safely. 
A peke in print, from “All Around Robin Hood’s Barn” (1926). Found at No Particular Hours
Sasha fending off the Sunday scaries with a divine frittata

Stealing some sleeps in his bereal 

by Claire ( at September 26, 2022 04:56 AM

Doctor Popular

The Permanent Damage comic fest on Valencia Street

I wanted to give a shout out to the folks at Silver Sprocket (1018 Valencia Street) for hosting the Permanent Damage comic fest this weekend. Steen and I stopped by yesterday and picked up some rad comic books. I think they had about 15 vendors on hand selling prints, comics, patches, and more.

I picked up a bunch of rad comics and one of those butterfly knives with a comb on it. I’ve always wanted one of those.

I heard a cool story I wanted to share too. The folks at Flor de Café, a nearby restaurant, wanted to help support the artists, so they offered space in their restaurant for artists to set up. It was rad seeing comics and posters spread all throughout the restaurant. I even heard they hooked some of the artists up with free food. That’s super cool!

The post The Permanent Damage comic fest on Valencia Street appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at September 26, 2022 02:28 AM

I before E except Gleitzman

Llama life 🦙

September 26, 2022 01:13 AM

September 20, 2022

I Like Turtles

Hurricane Fiona


September 20, 2022 07:00 AM

September 19, 2022

Claire Kao

Some things about the Royals that aren’t The Crown

As in all matters royal, we are dealing here not with pros and cons, with arguments and counter-arguments; we are dealing with signs and symbols, with fever and magic. 

Whenever there’s a Royal event/headline, I am generally confused by the Royalist supporters, defenders, enthusiasts who come out in force. What do the Royals represent? Why are they so meaningful/sacred to certain people? 

Amis’ short piece is worth a read if you find yourself with similar questions. Amis airs an idea introduced by George Orwell in 1935: that the English common people could feel aligned with the Monarchy against the upper classes. It would sound completely absurd to me if we didn’t have our own version of this dynamic playing out in Trumpism and its supporters. 

Amis concludes the piece by saying: 

The Royal Family is just a family, writ inordinately large. They are the glory, not the power; and it would clearly be far more grownup to do without them. But riveted mankind is hopelessly addicted to the irrational, with reliably disastrous results, planetwide. The monarchy allows us to take a holiday from reason; and on that holiday we do no harm.

He seems to chalk the glorification of the Royals up to good ole celebrity worship and the voyeuristic appeal of taking in other peoples’ family drama—but I disagree that on this “holiday we do no harm”. Which isn’t to say that I think they aren’t worth gawking at, I just think the “Firm” and Royal institution should be deified less and subjected just as much to scrutiny, criticism, and an airing of the harms done. So here goes: 

Some things on Meghan

I am sympathetic to Meghan Markle—and I think her story is an important one to take in if we want to try and understand the Royal thing.
Watch the Oprah interview, and then read this profile of Meghan Markle from the Aug. 29, 2022 issue of New York Mag. 
I don’t think the NYMag piece is the nicest, but I felt it took a balanced, slightly sardonic view on her aestheticized feminism, feminism-justified ambition, the extreme control she is trying to exert over her image; and rather empathetically, how this clashed with the Royal family and abusive British media. 

A thing on Diana

I do not like podcasts—it’s just not my medium! However, two very important exceptions to this rule are podcasts created by Jamie Loftus (Lolita Podcast, My Year in Mensa) and Michael Hobbes (You’re Wrong About). In 2020, Hobbes and his co-host Sarah Marshall delved into the Princess Diana story during five You’re Wrong About episodes to show us how the commonly-accepted narrative at the time of her death was straight up wrong. I didn’t know (or care much, to be honest) about Princess Diana before listening to these episodes, but discovered the story is a heartbreaking, horrifying one.
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5

Some Tweets

And finally, we come to some tweets. Concerning the monarchy, they are raw, angry, and express global perspective that’s often excluded in *Royal Fever*:

So, why not “The Crown”?

I haven’t been able to watch much of the Crown, but I’ve seen enough of it to glean the intent of the show: to interrogate the purpose of the monarchy in modern times, and how becoming superfluous has affected its members.

It’s a worthwhile question, and obviously an intriguing one to the general public, as it’s a very popular show. But the TV show has fallen into a bit of the American Psycho effect: when a piece of media raises something up for question/scrutiny/criticism, yet has the opposite effect of enshrining and further glorifying it. How much more did the show add to the media machine and mythology of the Royals? 

To be clear, I don’t envy the Royal Family, and I think it’s a terrible lot to be in. But Royalists seem to believe the Royal Family is more deserving of sympathy than the innumerable, continuing victims of colonialism and imperialism. And to those who claim the Royal Family have no power, then why are you enshrining them? And don’t they have more power than you or I?? What is this recent trend of claiming the powerful are powerless?? I’m still mystified by it all, but Martin Amis has helped a little. 

by Claire ( at September 19, 2022 02:23 PM

Certainly Strange


This weekend I tried a very long, cold ferment with my sourdough – about a week at 4 degrees C, and it turned out AMAZING!!! Not to mention it was very easy to do it this way

by Steen at September 19, 2022 07:59 AM

Doctor Popular

Using Custom Emoji As An iPhone Wallpaper

One of the new features in iOS16 is the ability to create your a custom wallpaper/lockscreen using your favorite emoji. Here’s mine:

To set up your own custom emoji wallpaper in iOS16 go to Settings > Wallpaper>Add New Wallpaper>Emoji.

The post Using Custom Emoji As An iPhone Wallpaper appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at September 19, 2022 04:23 AM

September 18, 2022

I Like Turtles

10th anniversary, back to Havana


September 18, 2022 07:00 AM

September 12, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Wintermelon and Scallops, 冬瓜干貝

“There's more wintermelon in my front yard than grass.” We love growing wintermelon. Before they became all the rage in milk tea shops for wintermelon lattes, they’ve been a delicious melon used in all sorts of Chinese cuisine. My aunts grow them and try to outdo each other each year by bringing bigger and bigger melons to family holidays.


  • wintermelon

  • dried scallops

  • garlic

  • cooking oil

  • salt


Peel the garlic and crush

Peel the wintermelon and then cut into square slices

The dried scallops can be purchased at any Chinese grocery store, which will predominantly be used for flavoring.

Wash the scallops and soak in water

Heat up a wok with some cooking oil. Add the crushed garlic. Then stir-fry the wintermelon briefly for 60 seconds.

Add the scallops with the half bowl of water.

Stir fry the mix together for another 30 seconds.

Cover the wok with a lid and let it steam and for 7 minutes. Make sure there is enough water so that the melons don’t burn.

Once the wintermelon has softened, salt to taste and serve!

If you’re curious what the grow operation looks like, here’s a small part of it

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at September 12, 2022 06:48 PM

I before E except Gleitzman

Certainly Strange

Livesey walk animation

For some godforsaken reason I have decided I want to try and participate in the Dr. Livesey walk memeification and it is so much work, just an immense amount of work

by Steen at September 12, 2022 06:43 AM

Claire Kao

three colors (1993, 1994, 1994)

Three Colors: Blue (1993)

Three Colors: White (1994)

Three Colors: Red (1994)

The Three Colors Trilogy 

The final masterworks from the Polish filmmaker Krzysztof Kieślowski

Krzysztof Kieślowski died at 54, two years after he announced that Three Colors: Red would be his final movie. It is absolutely astounding to realize he made these movies at a time that most would feel is around mid-life. Watching them feels like receiving the gift of lifelong wisdom from a truly deep thinking, deep feeling person. And a person who in particular had that rare, remarkable ability to then communicate to others cinematically what they observed and felt in life.

I finally got to see the trilogy this past August *at a movie theater*. The color motifs were obvious, but not overbearing. I could recall certain images and objects that honored the movie names, but it wasn't until I took these screenshots that I saw just how much the colors were threaded into the films with each and every set/costume/lighting choice. 

Movies like these are such an important reminder of what cinema can really do and communicate; how in the hands of a master, they can help us understand self-actualization, how we relate to one another, spirituality, all the joys and impossibilities of living.

by Claire ( at September 12, 2022 05:09 AM

Doctor Popular

I’m back from WordCamp US 2022

Last week I went to San Diego for WordCamp 2022. It was my first WordCamp in two and half years and I really enjoyed it. This was a much more intimate event than previous years, since they limited the number of available tickets to 650, so I really got to spend more time with each person I met.

I was on location shooting videos for and have been rushing get those videos online (watch them here). I shot about 13 interviews and managed to edit and upload over half of those videos before the event was even over.

I really appreciated the steps the organizers took to mitigate the spread of Covid at this event. Masks were required when indoors and they were using a checkin system called Vow that required attendees to show proof of vaccine or a recent Covid test. I hope events can keep these policies up. I haven’t had Covid yet, and I’d like to keep it that way 😉

A negative Covid test after WordCamp.

I’ve taken one test since the event ended and have a negative result. I’ll check again mid-week to see if that changes. I wore my mask when indoors and traveling and didn’t do any indoor dining, so I have a pretty good feeling I didn’t bring anything back home with me that I didn’t want.

The post I’m back from WordCamp US 2022 appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at September 12, 2022 03:06 AM

September 11, 2022

Vivek Sri

Word of the Day: Free

Apparently embarassed about my download speeds, my cable company sent me a Wi-Fi extender. I didn’t ask for it, but hey, it’s free.

The box arrived without an ethernet cable, which I needed. Buying a cable felt wasteful, and it would have made this Wi-Fi extender considerably less free.

So I took to the internet and I found Free Geek, an organization in Portland that refurbishes tech and provides it for low or no cost to the community. I biked over, pried open my backpack, and a nerd tossed in about eight feet of category five. Yee haw.

Eckhart Tolle says there is no such thing as the past or the future. He suggests we experience these as ideas in the now, as remembrance or projection, because only the now is real. The past and the future are phantasms, experienced only in an unterminating series of nows, happening now, and now, and now.

As I biked away with the cable, I had a similar mind-clearing thought about free. Is there such thing as free? Just because I’m not paying for this ethernet cable, that doesn’t mean no one did.

The pithy anagram TAANSTAAFL reminds us that someone always foots the bill for a “free lunch.” But who is the who that pays? It seems there are three characters in this play:


If you invite me over to your house for a dinner party (and you should), I will probably bring a bottle of wine. For you, this is free vino, but it was paid for by me. This is also known as a “gift.”


At that same party, guests will enjoy appetizers, dinner, and maybe even dessert, all without pulling out their wallets. It would be absurd, insulting even, to try to pay for dinner. It doesn’t feel quite right to call dinner a gift. But whatever it is, it’s paid for by the host.


As I pedalled through Portland, I realized that it’s We that pay for everything else. That’s all free means: “We’ve paid for it.”

You can pop into Costco, jam a morsel of Kirkland cheese in your mouth and sprint right out, but somewhere in the bowels of Costco HQ an accountant ensures that you and I will cover that cheddar somehow.

Every free trial is subsidized by we who opt-in. Free parking is parking you don’t pay for today; but of course you’ve already paid for it. We’ve already paid for it. That’s the only reason it can be be free.

Everything in life that is free is because of We. Roads and highways, emergency services, public schools, public parks, the military. We all pay for it through taxes.

Television is free because we are affected by ads. Your favorite social media network is free for the same reason.

The sun and the stars, the trees and the wind may seem costless, but only a moment’s reflection will remind you that these are no more free than the month’s first Wall Street Journal article or 8 seconds of water at the airport. Some combination of We have paid the way.

Our minds are free to think and dream and express ourselves and worship however we want, thanks to a duty paid long ago. And one we will continue to pay through effort, organizing, and protest. The old adage says “freedom ain’t free,” but of course it is, because we’re paying for it, ain’t we?

by Word of the Day: Free at September 11, 2022 07:00 AM

September 07, 2022

I Like Turtles



September 07, 2022 07:00 AM

September 06, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Deep-Fried Squid, 炸尤鱼

Next in our deep-fry series: squid! We love deep-frying things for our family banquets. It’s pretty common to just line up a long queue of various meats and seafood for deep frying in preparation for family gatherings. Today we’ll share some quick thoughts on deep-frying squid.


  • squid

  • egg white

  • cornstarch

In this example, we only bought the bottom halves of the squid. This can also be adapted for calamari rings, or whole squid, but you’ll need to prepare the squid accordingly.

Cut each squid in half down the middle to make them more bite-size.

Thoroughly dry the squid and place it in a bowl. Mix in an egg white. This will help the cornstarch bind to the squid.

Mix in cornstarch to make a batter. Now, heat an oil bath to 350 degrees F. Once the oil reaches frying temperature, add the battered squids to the oil bath one by one.

The squid will initially sink to the bottom. You’ll know that the squid is done frying when they all start floating to the top.

Drain the squid from the oil.

You can serve it just like this. If you want, you can also stir fry the deep-fried squid with peppers to make salt and pepper squid. We’ll cover this in a future blog post, but for now, you can follow a similar recipe to Salt and Pepper Shrimp. Enjoy!

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at September 06, 2022 09:54 PM

September 05, 2022

Claire Kao

Kwee’s week in photos

Z goes boating 🛶
A $5,500 book of the baddest gal 
Ice scream 
You scream
We all scream
For ice scream 

A cake for every decade 🥲🥲🥲

Giraffe-ic park 


The Artist // The Art // The Process
A puppy-plant Zaddy 
Discovered that my bestie and I both independently believe the only valid mani is a glittery one 
The last bits of summer’s buttery sun 
nite nite 

by Claire ( at September 05, 2022 04:16 AM

Doctor Popular

Kintsugi Kashakas

I ordered a pair of kashakas from Ghana, but they got crushed in the mail. So I pulled out some lacquer to repair them, and I sprinkled some gold dust on top to give them a kintsugi look.

Kashakas are rhythm instruments that have a skilltoy appeal to them. They consist of two gourds with a rope between them.

The post Kintsugi Kashakas appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at September 05, 2022 03:16 AM

September 04, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

Wildfire near Mount Shasta in Weed, California

September 04, 2022 03:30 PM

September 02, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Salt and Pepper Shrimp, 椒盐虾

A staple of the family holiday menu. In this dish, we deep-fry the shrimp with the shell on. Then, stir-fry it with a mix of salt and pepper to create a delicious crunchy bite. You can eat the shrimp with the shell if you want to experience the crunch, or you can peel the shell off. Be warned though, if you remove the shell you lose a lot of the flavor! As Aunt Kim says, "It's gotta be crispy!"


  • jumbo shrimp

  • cornstarch

  • 1 egg white [optional]

  • 1 green/red Bell pepper

  • 1 yellow onion

  • scallions

  • salt and pepper mix

    • 1 pint salt

    • 1 tsp ground dried huajiao (花椒) pepper

    • 3 tbsp white pepper


Salt and pepper mix

You want to start by creating the salt and pepper mix. We like to make a whole bunch all at once, which you can store in an air-tight container and use in the future. Please don’t actually put 1 pint of salt into this one dish.

First heat up a hot wok with no oil. Pour in the salt and stir fry for 20 seconds. Then you can turn off the heat. Then stir in the huajiao and white pepper. After mixing well and cooling, store it in an airtight container. This batch lasts for a long time and can be used for all sorts of dishes. For this dish, we’ll just use a few pinches.


Start by cleaning and dicing all of the vegetables (bell peppers, onions, scallions). Place to the side.

The key to good deep fried shrimp is time-consuming preparation.
Begin by removing the swimmerets (the little things that look like shrimp feet).

Cut a slit down the back of the shrimp and remove the black line. This allows the shrimp to expand during frying, and removes the waste line. Optionally, remove the head as well. Some people like to eat the shrimp with the head on.

When done properly, the shrimp should still have most of its shell intact

Thoroughly clean the shrimp in cold water

For a crispy shell, it is important to completely dry the shrimp and place in a large bowl. Residual water on the shrimp will affect the frying process. Once dry, coat the shrimp in a layer of cornstarch. Optionally add an egg white or yolk, which helps bind the cornstarch to the shell.

Mix thoroughly.

Heat up frying oil to 350 degrees F. Deep fry the shrimp in the hot oil.

When first placed, the shrimp will sink to the bottom. The shrimp is done cooking when it starts to float to the top.

When done, drain the shrimp into another bowl

Let the oils drip off, while we prepare the next step.

In a clean wok, heat a small amount of oil for stir frying.

First, stir-fry the diced bell peppers and yellow onion

Then, add the shrimp and scallions.

Add a small pinch of the salt and pepper mix (<1/3 tsp) and mix it in.
Serve on a plate and enjoy!

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at September 02, 2022 05:41 PM

August 29, 2022

Certainly Strange

He wants to order

At last I am finding the energy to resume the shitposting

by Steen at August 29, 2022 06:25 AM

Doctor Popular

Cooking With Chorizo

This year I’ve been mostly learning to cook Chinese dishes (Ma Pa Tofu, Salt & Pepper Tofu, Stir Fry Rice, etc.), but recently I’ve put the wok away and have been cooking with chorizo. My favorite dish so far is this chorizo and egg skillet recipe, but I add beans and tortillas. I also like to use our own broth instead of water with chicken boullion cubes.

It’s interesting to compare the chorizo from Casa Gaudalupe with the chorizo from Avedano’s up on Bernal.

The post Cooking With Chorizo appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at August 29, 2022 04:26 AM

August 28, 2022

Vivek Sri

Word of the Day: Cromulent

Words are like coffee mugs. Interesting enough, but ultimately vessels for something more potent and mind-altering. Words are the vase, meaning is the flower. Words contain concepts, sometimes loosely, the way a fishing net contains a wriggling salmon. But just because you’re holding the net, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re eating sashimi tonight.

What I mean is that words are different from their meanings. The word “mug”, for example, isn’t itself a a mug. And the word “coffee” isn’t a hot brown liquid. They are representations of other things.

I know, this sounds so obvious. So let’s take a quick break to look at a painting from 1929.

The treachery of images

The Treachery of Images by Rene MagritteThe Treachery of Images by Rene Magritte

This is The Treachery of Images painted by Rene Magritte, a surrealist. Translated from French, the five words at the bottom of this painting read:

This is not a pipe

The first time I saw this, I was a little confused. How is this not a pipe? You could hardly fault anyone for pointing to this painting and saying “see this pipe?” But it’s not a pipe. It’s a picture of a pipe.

There’s are many differences between a “pipe” and a “picture of a pipe.” Here’s one of those key differences presented in tabular format:

Pipe Picture of a pipe
You can smoke with it You can’t smoke with it

You’re thinking this conversation is getting pretty semantic. And I wouldn’t disagree:

When you take a magnifying glass to words, things get weird.

Autological words

For example, there is a type of word called an autological word. Words (as we have discussed) are representations of other things. But they can also represent other words and sometimes they describe themselves. When a word describes itself, we call it autological. A word that isn’t autological is heterological.

Some examples should clear this up:

Autological Heterological
noun is a noun adverb is a noun (so it doesn’t describe itself)
word is a word sentence is not a sentence
English is a word in English French is not in French
unhyphenated is unhyphenated hyphenated is not hyphenated
readable is itself readable unreadable is… I mean you just read it

Some examples are quite clever:

While other examples are debatable:

  • awkward sounds a little awkward (but that’s a matter of opinion)
  • pronounceable is pronounceable (but it depends on who’s saying it)
  • short is short (but not that short. And compared to what?)

My favorite autological term is completely fabricated and highly recursive:

  • cromulent is a perfectly cromulent word

A perfectly cromulent word

The word cromulent was introduced on the long-running animated show The Simpsons, in an episode called “Lisa the Iconoclast.”

We hear it after a teacher questions the use of the term “embiggen” in an old educational video. (Embiggen is a real word by the way.) Another teacher responds, “It’s a perfectly cromulent word.”

In writing this joke, the writers needed a term that, a), that sounded like a real English word and, b), conveyed “reasonable” or “acceptable,” while c), also felt slippery enough that audiences would know it was counterfeit.

I think the writers nailed it.‌

Cromulent is crucially unlike the True Words I described at the beginning of this post. It doesn’t point to anything but itself. It exists only to draw attention to itself. It’s both the content and the container. It is the most cromulent word; the utmost example of cromulence.

by Word of the Day: Cromulent at August 28, 2022 11:20 PM

I before E except Gleitzman

Advancements in AI artistry seem to be moving rather quickly

August 28, 2022 10:45 PM

August 26, 2022

I Like Turtles

Bay of Pigs, Cienfuegos


August 26, 2022 07:00 AM

August 22, 2022

Certainly Strange

Claire Kao

August 21, 2022

I before E except Gleitzman

Here’s to the happy couple!

August 21, 2022 06:49 PM

Vivek Sri

Word of the Day: Glib

glib, adj. fluent and voluble but insincere and shallow from glibberig, slimy

Glib lives at an intersection with four corners leased by skyscraper terms. Fluent, voluble, insincere, and shallow.

Please, allow me:

  • Fluent: Flowing or capable of flowing; liquid; glodding.
  • Voluble: Easily rolling or turning; easily set in motion; apt to roll.
  • Insincere: Not being in truth what one appears to be.
  • Shallow: Not deep; having little depth; shoal.

Glib is all that. Glib is ready-to-flow, it’s “glodding,” it’s not the whole truth, nothing but the truth, it’s barely a scratch. Glib is four volumes in four letters and we’re just getting started.

It describes words, or a person speaking those (glib) words, or the manner in which a (glib) person speaks those (glib) words, viz., glibly. What about all three at once? Not a problem.

(This is known as glib cubed.)

Its original meaning, not used much any more, is “slippery.”

Maybe ice is so cool because it’s the original glib.

Glib is like an an electric eel. Glib is a reused speech. Glib is not the answer you were expecting.

Glib is a baseball bat sheathed with a wool sock. And it’s not one you want the business end of, especially in the dark. Any math that pretends to contain the domain and range of glib is bound to make you lose your grip.

by Word of the Day: Glib at August 21, 2022 04:45 PM

August 20, 2022

I Like Turtles



August 20, 2022 07:00 AM

August 18, 2022

Fuzhou Food

Steamed Mussels, 清蒸蚌

When we started this blog, the goal was just to capture the daily foods we ate as a kid, so that we can share them with our own families. Growing up in a coastal city, our parents ate a lot of seafood, including simple steamed dishes like this one.


  • mussels

  • garlic

  • scallions

  • ginger

  • salt

Begin by washing the mussels. Since we eat them from the shell, we want to get rid of the dirt and grime off the shells.

It helps to soak them in saltwater (1 tsp salt) overnight at room temperature (~60 deg F). Aunt Kim says that this tricks the mussels into puking up their sand from their internal valves. If you don’t do this, there’s a risk of chewing sand when you eat them.

Inspect each mussel and rip off the byssus (the thin black strands). This is done as a courtesy to your guests, since you can’t eat them anyway.

Heat up a wok with oil, salt, and whole crushed garlic cloves. Make sure to crush the garlic beforehand to release the flavors, but take care not to burn the garlic. Then add sliced ginger and scallions.

Stir fry the mussels for 60 seconds. Afterwards add a small bowl of water, just enough to steam the mussels, but not boil them. Cover the wok and let the mussels steam until they open up.

You can try a mussel to test if it’s done. Depending on preference, you may like them more raw or well done. I tend to like it more on the raw side, especially if you do this recipe with clams.

Fuzhou Food is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

by Fuzhou Food at August 18, 2022 05:00 PM

August 17, 2022

Doctor Popular

Yo-Yo Magic Tricks

When I used to work at a yo-yo kiosk, I used to prank my co-workers with these yo-yo magic tricks. I had been meaning to film them for years, but it wasn’t until I heard this funny episode of the 2.0 podcast that I finally got around to filming it. I used a short audio clip from that podcast in part one of my yo-yo magic trick videos.

See if you can figure out how I did them:

Hints: There is no editing or post production used in these tricks. They can be done in person. The tricks don’t involve the string around my wrist either. That’s just something I wear all the time.

The post Yo-Yo Magic Tricks appeared first on Doc Pop's Weblog.

by doc at August 17, 2022 04:56 PM